by Mika Tanaka
My name is Mika Tanaka. I live in Japan.
It was 28 years ago when I heard the name "Shinnyo-en" for the first time from my college friend.
At that time, "Shinnyo-en" didn't sound important to me, so I paid no attention to it and I asked her no question about it.
When I was little, my parents divorced. My mother left home for work at a distanced area, so my grandparents took care of my younger brother and me.
I put up with loneliness of the lack of my parents around me, and because I did not want to be a burden for my grandparents, I had kept saying myself since then, "Do not ask for anything to them." I had lived as if I had been tough enough.
Therefore, rather than paying attention to "Shinnyo-en", my main concern was to be a certified child-care nurse as soon as I could to make a living.
Around then, my younger brother got involved in a huge accident. He was in coma and my mother had stayed at the hospital to nurse him.
I helped my mother every day after school to nurse my brother. It was a hard time for us.
On the 40th day since the accident, he suddenly opened his eyes. But due to the side-effects of the accident, he got a speech impediment and his left limbs were paralyzed.
Although my college friend again talked about Shinnyo-en not only to me but also to my family, I did not realize its importance. Even now I don't recall what she actually told me at all.
(She recalls now that at that time she was wondering how to convey her thoughts about Shinnyo-en to me, as I'm now in the similar situation to her for "otasuke.")
I said to myself for the hardship my family was facing, "We must survive somehow only ourselves."
I knew that one has one's own problems. But at that time I didn't understand that those problems originate from one's own karma.
Instead, I thought like "Why is this happened to me, even though I'm trying to live earnestly?" and I blamed something else without reflecting on myself.
Since graduating from the college, my college friend and I seldom got touch with each other and eventually we totally lost contact.
I didn't know why, but whenever I remembered her, the name "Shinnyo-en" appeared, and whenever the name "Shinnyo-en" appeared in my mind, I remembered her. Then I thought, "Does she still go to Shinnyo-en? What is she doing there?"
She and I used to exchange the letters and told each other about how our lives were, but after both of us moved and changed our addresses, we had lost contacts.
One day, I thought there would been no way to meet her unless I had done something. I suddenly said to myself, "I have to call her now!"
I somehow found out the phone number of her parents' house, and I dialed the number as I was saying to myself, "I can't miss this chance!" At the same time, she was also trying to contact me from America.
Incidentally, when she received the spiritual words back then, "One of the seeds of "otasuke" you had sown has already grown in the soil and now it has become a sprout. You may accomplish something in this year," and she thought the seed would be me.
When she contacted me on the phone, I told her how my life had unexpectedly changed: I had a debt and loan, got divorced, and suffered pains of rheumatism after undergoing leg joint surgery. Due to those, I was depressed and diagnosed with panic disorder. I often got rapid heartbeat and panting, so I was too scared to go out. I wanted to die. I wanted to go away somewhere. I wasn't even unable to work...
I was trying not to cry. She patiently listened to me, then said, "You'd better be connected to Shinnyo-en."
By her firm voice, I imaged her totally different from what she was when we were college students, and I sensed something very strong in her.
On the contrary, I realized myself how wimpy I was.
Thus, it took 28 years for me to be finally connected to Shinnyo-en in September 2008.
In that year, I was unable to attend the home meetings due to my bad health conditions. Even when I went to a Shinnyo-en temple, my body trembled by rapid heartbeat and fear due to my panic disorder.
I was undergoing the rehabilitation and I had pains on my left hip joints. My body frequently became numb. I needed help from my children for the house chores and even for changing my clothes.
So, I only paid attention on my hardship, and I had kept thinking that rather visiting Shinnyo-en or attending the home meetings, the medication and frequent visit to the doctor were the best treatment for me.
The other day, I met my lineage parent when she visited Japan from U.S.
When she asked me if there was anything I wanted to ask her, I couldn't say anything due to my panic disorder.
(Due to my panic disorder, I was completely quiet at the home meetings. It was very painful for me to read Path of Oneness and Morning and Evening Chanting book. Even I didn't want to chant the "sandai".)
As I could not hear clearly my guiding parent's advice, I was not able to talk normally with my lineage parent either. Then my lineage parent said:
"It's not difficult at all! Don't say, 'I don't understand the Teaching.' Understanding the Teaching is fun. No other teaching is like that. You need to try to understand first. It all depends on your determination."
She continued, "At your work place and home, your attitude may be like, 'I have to do all of this, and all of that.' You may have thought about other people first and you may think you are holding all the burdens but you are only doing it to satisfy yourself; your ego. It's not the right way."
I felt like all I had done was completely denied. I thought I was doing for others, but actually I was doing just to satisfy myself.
As a result, I hurt my children because of me.
If I hadn't met my lineage parent, I wouldn't have realized that I was not a good parent at all.
Last year (2009), when the Winter Training was approaching, my guiding parent told me: In her dream she saw Shinnyo Keishu sama asking her, "You worry about Ms. Tanaka, don't you?" And she replies, "Yes, I do." Then Shinnyo Keishu sama prays for me.
She also told me, "It will be all right to attend the Winter Training just for one day. There shouldn't be any trouble for you to attend."
Whenever I tried to attend the Winter Training, however, I would just become sick or somebody in my family got injured or got an accident.
I was only able to attend on the last day of the Winter Training when Shinnyo Keishu sama's sermon, but I felt sick and I was just sitting still while listening to her.
One year has passed since then. Now I don't have any pain in my legs and I can move myself smoothly. I don't get panic disorder either.
Without realizing it, I can now see myself going shopping and doing house chores as normal.
I tended to panic while I was just going to the hospital and I couldn't say what I needed to say to the doctor. But I'm not what I used to be anymore, even though I am still undergoing rehabilitation for my leg pains, having psychiatric treatment, and my rheumatism.
I take a walk and exercise every day, have a proper diet, and am able to speak at a home meeting.
In this year, I regularly visited a Shinnyo-en temple and received sesshin. I made "kangi" offering every month.
I also made my gratuitous "kangi" offering toward the consecration of Oyasono (the Main Temple). I requested osegaki and ogoma, too.
My children and my ex-husband were connected to Shinnyo-en, and we went to a Shinnyo-en temple together.
I also did gohoshi with my neighbors after I regained health.
I tried the Three Practices, and in this year all of my family members, by encouraging each other, were able to attend the Winter Training.
I was also able to attend the every single day of the Winter Training. I offered myself as the gohoshi chanting leader, and made my testimonial speech ("proof"). What joyous opportunities I had. I felt very fortunate.
I had never felt happy like that. When we were chanting the "sandai," my heart was filled with happiness and gratitude.
I didn't feel any pain on my legs and hip joints during the Winter Training, whereas I used to have pains on those areas. This is called "bakku-daiju," isn't it?
In January 2010, my sesshin indicated a miscarried child.
Then I realized, "Yes! One of the reasons I was connected to Shinnyo-en was to request a spiritual consolation for my miscarried child."
"But because I was disturbed by the incidents that occurred continuously around me one by one, my every-month 'osegaki' request for the miscarried child decreased to every three month period."
I felt very sorry for the child and I regretted myself.
Then I visited a doctor for the first time in two years for cancer check-up. He found a fibroid of the uterus.
Although it was a shocking situation in which I would have gotten rapid heart beats by panic disorder, I calmly accepted it. It was two days before the Winter Training would start.
In the middle period of the Winter Training, I received the cancer test result as negative.
Then on the 4th day of the Closing Period of the Winter Training, I got the final test result of the fibroid of the uterus -- it turned out it was not a malignant tumor.
And I directly headed to my Winter Training location as quickly as possible.
On that day at the Winter Training I was given an opportunity to provide my testimony of proof. I made the speech of my testimony with joy.
I think it was a merit I received from participating the Winter Training.
Even though I was far from my guiding parent and lineage parent, whenever I was worrying or was at a loss, something strange always happened.
It was like my guiding parent had watched over me all the way from California and guided me to stay on the right path.
I have finally realized, after all, those incidents were voices from the Buddha, and were the helps and the guides only available from Shinnyo-en.
What if I had been connected right after she told me about Shinnyo-en? I regretted about it. I would have had an opportunity to see Shinnyo Kyoshu sama when he was still present, and I could also have done something for my late-grandfather and my unborn baby.
Even if I had been immediately connected to the Shinnyo Teaching back then, would I have tried to understand the Teaching with my honest heart?
Could I have let a seed inside me sprout?
I think, however, it was now when I could be connected to Shinnyo-en.
Because it was now, I was able to step forward toward the Shinnyo Teaching from my heart.
I have Shinnyo Keishu sama, who is always there for me. I have the Shinnyo Parents and Two doji, and I always feel they are ever-present around me.
I feel grateful about what I am now.
Thank you very much.